CDC Director says 'disinformation' may be driving some to refuse COVID-19 vaccine

Just over half of Americans 18 and older are now fully vaccinated, which means the other 49% may be still on the fence about getting immunized. 

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says, as the US moves into the next phase of vaccinations, misinformation is making it harder to convince people to roll up their sleeves.

Dr. Walensky recently visited a vaccine clinic at the Whitfield County Health Department in Dalton, where she says vaccinators told her the same story.

"There was a consistent message of, 'We're hearing disinformation, we're hearing people don't necessarily understand, don't want it," Walensky says. "There is a lot of misinformation about infertility among young women." 

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation Vaccine Monitor survey backs up what Dr. Walensky is hearing.

42% of the young adults 18 to 29 who were surveyed said they have heard the COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility.

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Of that group, 22% were not sure if that claim was true, but 5% believed it was.

"We have absolutely no data to indicate that would be the case, and, from a biology standpoint, it is biologically implausible that that could be the case," Dr. Walensky says.  "So, please do go to your own trusted messenger, to hear that from them, because that is not an issue."

Dr. Walensky says a big challenge is that many people may be turning to social media for information about the vaccines, where misinformation is often circulating. 

'So, I would say, if you have questions about the vaccine, please ask your local public health department, ask your pharmacist, ask your physician, ask your nurse practitioner and your nurses to give you accurate information, because all the information that is out there is not accurate information," Walensky says.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) says, while fertility was not specifically studied in the clinical trials of the vaccines, no loss of fertility has been reported among trial participants or among the millions of Americans who have received the vaccines. 

In a statement on its website, ACOG group writes, "As experts in reproductive health, we continue to recommend that the vaccine be available to pregnant individuals.  We also assure patients that there is no evidence that the vaccine can lead to loss of fertility."

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